Fruit of Life, Amlaki, Amalaka, Amali, Emblica, Emblica officinalis, Mirobalano, Myrobalan, Mirobalanus embilica, Myrobalan emblic.
South and Southeast Asia
Amla is the fruit of Phyllanthus Emblica - a small fruit bearing tree that is considered sacred in India.
Amla has been used in Ayurveda and Unani system of medicine for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. The fruits, seed, leaves, root, bark, and flowers are all used in the traditional system of Indian medicine. According to Ayurveda, Amla balances all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), and contains 5 out of 6 tastes recognized by Ayurveda.
As well as being used for internal health, Amla has a reputation for reducing hair loss, encouraging growth and enhancing the natural colour of hair. In India it is an extremely popular hair oil and is also applied to the scalp as a paste.
A healthy digestive system is one of the cornerstones of vibrant health, and as an extremely fibre-rich fruit, Amla aids this important system in many ways. It promotes healthy bowel movements by keeping the gastrointestinal tract clean. It also works as a natural laxative to clear accumulated waste matter from the intestinal tract, relieving constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Amla also strengthens the digestive system by improving the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. The sour and bitter taste of Amla triggers the taste receptors, making the digestive enzymes active, meaning that more of the beneficial nutrients are absorbed and ensuring the whole digestive process runs smoothly.
A weakened immune system is the root cause of infections and diseases. With anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Amla has a regenerative effect on the immune system. Research has shown Amla berry extract to be an effective antibacterial against illness causing bacteria like staphylococcus and cholerae. It has even been demonstrated to combat Helicobacter pylori bacteria - one of the main causes of gastric ulcers.
Amla is also loaded with powerful antioxidants and is extremely rich in vitamin C, nutrients that strengthen the immune system and mop up free radicals before they can do enough damage to impair important bodily functions.
Amla has been shown to restore the anti-oxidant system in the liver and restore elevated liver enzymes to normal by increasing production of the master antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismutase. The importance of the liver cannot be overstated with regards to immune system health - optimal function of the liver reduces toxic burden, which in turn alleviates the burden of chronic toxicity and low-grade inflammation that keep the immune system distracted from its real job. Amla supports the immune system to deal with real threats.
Much research has been done on this fruit for its effective management of Type 2 diabetes with studies showing that it can lower glucose levels. It helps in reducing the post prandial blood glucose which delays glucose absorption, and by inhibiting the carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase in the digestive organ.
Certain tannoids that are found in Amla are known to be effective aldose reductase inhibitors. A substance that inhibits aldose reductase activity can prevent the increase in sorbitol production experienced by so many diabetes patients, and thereby prevent diabetic complications.
Amla can be eaten straight as a fruit or made into jams and chutneys.
Amla Powder can be added to smoothies, encapsulated or mixed with a little water.
Amla enjoys a mythical reputation in India, due to a belief in that it originated from drops of Amrit, the nectar of immortality. It is said that the Amla berry came from the first tree to appear on Earth, manifested out of the tears of Brahma as he was meditating, whilst Indian folklore places the Amla tree as the dwelling place of the divine lovers, Krishna and Radha.
The Indian gooseberry tree is also purported to have been used to achieve enlightenment by Phussa Buddha, the first Buddha of antiquity.
This ancient superberry is one of the most revered medicinal berries in the entire subcontinent of India. Of all the Rasayanas (ayurvedic formulations esteemed for their positive influence on the physiology), Amla is considered one of the most potent and nourishing. The Charaka Samhita says, "Amla is the best among rejuvenative herbs."
The major chemical constituents of Amla are; Phyllemblin, Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Gallic acid, Tannins and Pectin
An excessive or incorrect dosage of Amla could cause your blood sugar levels to dip suddenly. This can be potentially dangerous for someone who already has sugar regulation problems as a result of diabetes. In the case of diabetes and hypoglycemia it is recommended you consult your healthcare practitioner before consuming Amla.